A quick return
The aggressive advertising campaign to get the word out about the 2010 Census appears to be paying off.
Well, at least in North Dakota, and especially Pierce County.
As of April 1, 61 percent of North Dakotans had already returned their census questionnaire by mail, and the percentage of Pierce County residents who did so was 75 percent.
That was the highest in the nation so far, according to Dennis Eggebraaten, North Dakota Census Partnership assistant.
Those figures are impressive considering it’s been just over two weeks since the questionnaires arrived in mail boxes.
In 2000, the percentage of Pierce County residents who returned their forms by mail was 74 percent. The local complete count committee set a goal of 84 percent return by mail. The county is also in a friendly competition with neighboring Bottineau County to see which one has the most census returns. Bottineau’s current return rate was 47 percent. McHenry County had 57 percent and Rolette County was 45 percent.
The questionnaire has just 10 questions, much shorter than previous ones. That was one of the points census officials stressed through massive television, newspaper, radio and Internet advertisements.
The census is simply more than just counting the population every decade. There are literally billions of dollars at stake with those numbers. Population figures determine just how much federal aid states, counties and cities are eligible to receive in the next 10 years, funds that go to highway improvements, schools and health and human services programs. That’s why state and local census workers are encouraging citizens to return the form to be counted.
The local complete count committee put up banners and posters throughout town to promote the census and set up a booth at the recent Spring Expo.
Census officials last week conducted counts of people who reside in nursing homes as well at the Heart of America Correctional and Treatment Facility.
The committee wants to remind county residents who reside for a few months of the year in other states, to hold off and mail back their questionnaire once they return to North Dakota, which would be their primary residence.
The last day when census forms were sent by mail was March 31. Beginning in May, census workers will go to homes where questionnaires were not returned to gather the data.
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